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Something’s (Cat)Fishy on MTV

7 Jan

catfish-tv-show-logoWhere do all these gullible people come from?

On MTV’s (relatively) new show Catfish, week after week, young people learn that the person they’ve been chatting with on Facebook (or some other site) isn’t who they think he/she is.

If the name and premise sound familiar, it’s because the show is based on the movie Catfish, in which New York photographer Nev (pronounced “nieve”) Schulman meets and falls in love with a girl on Facebook, then learns she’s someone completely different when he and his two friends travel to Michigan to meet her. It’s a true story. (Mostly, anyway — depending on how cynical you are.)

In the hour-long TV show (which airs Monday nights at 11 p.m., and multiple times throughout the week), Nev and his buddy, Max (and a film crew from MTV), travel around the country interviewing people who have met and fallen for someone online. (Like, seriously fallen.) These people chat all the time, speak on the phone, and develop a bond. There’s just one problem: Every time the subject of meeting offline comes up, or even of chatting via Skype, the faker comes up with an excuse, like that he/she has to go out of town.

catfish-the-show-mtvThe stories always sound suspicious and too good to be true — especially to television viewers who (should) know better — which is partly why it only takes a simple web search and a phone call or two before Nev and Max have evidence that the online paramour is likely a fake. Then they take the episode’s subject to meet the person offline, where they all learn that the person is, indeed, not who he/she said he/she was. Continue reading